Asparagus with Fake Fermented Bean Curd Sauce | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Asparagus with Fake Fermented Bean Curd Sauce

Asparagus with Fake Fermented Bean Curd Sauce

I always read about the benefits of eating soy products, but sometimes I hear that eating fermented bean curd is not healthy. I did not do much elaborate researches about that suggestion but the belief seemed to have started sprouting in my mind for quite a while and I bought no more fermented bean curd for home cooking since then. Honestly, it is fairly hard to refrain myself from the temptation of buying fermented bean curd, because in many Chinese dishes it plays a key role in flavoring different foods, turning an ordinary dish into more inviting and additive.

But I didn’t stop eating it. I adopt a discriminating strategy, enjoying it only when dinning out. At Chinese restaurants, instead of having one main course, we usually order several different dishes to share among family or friends. One of the very popular dishes we used to order is Stir-Frying Water Spinach with Fermented Bean Curd (腐乳炒通菜), a dish most restaurants cook well with their powerful flame. We do not stay away from it completely perhaps we believe that eating it sparingly is acceptable and, fact is, it is a truly delectable dish.

At home, I simply sauté water spinach with garlic, ginger, or some spicy sauce, which is already a comfort dish for hubby and I to go with rice and to complement another dish with fish, chicken, beef, or pork. No matter how simple the stir-fry is, there are moments I wish to escape from the heated wok with oil. That is why, at the temperature of 33 degree C, I decided to blanch than to fry. And, inspired by Tigerfish’s simple, beautiful dish on steamed asparagus, I feel more confident in using this easy-to-wash vegetable for making this. So here it goes, Asparagus (rather than water spinach) with Fake Fermented Bean Curd Sauce.

If you are not familiar with fermented bean curd, it is a type of preserved tofu with a smooth, creamy texture, smelling cheesy. Therefore it is also called Chinese cheese.

Fermented Bean Curd
Photo: Wikipedia

The sauce in this recipe, though is an imitation, has both a cheesy feel and a fermented soy bean flavor as the fermented bean curd does. But you may have a complete control on the cheesiness and creaminess by adjusting the ratio of cheese to water and miso. Adding chili powder or not is optional because some fermented bean curds are actually non-spicy.

  • Ingredients
  • 100g asparagus spears
  • 1 piece cheese (I use Kraft Singles)
  • 1 tsp white miso paste
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder or flakes, optional
  • pinch of sugar, or to taste
  • pinch of salt, or to taste
  • 4-5 tbsp water
  • Blanching asparagus
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp oil


Wash asparagus clean (if I have time, I will first soak them in lightly salted water and then rinse them under running water). Cut off the bottom part where the stalks are tough, about one centimeter.

In a pan, add water, salt, sugar, and oil. Bring them to the boil. Briefly blanch the asparagus spears for about one minute (mine are very thin, thicker ones may take longer), or until just tender.

In a saucepan over low heat, put cheese, miso paste, and half tablespoon of water in it. Whisk to melt cheese and combine well with miso; add remaining water a little at a time until reach your preferred consistency. Remove from heat.

Serve hot (I have yet to try it cold). Pour sauce over asparagus right before serving.


The quantity here is good for serving as a side dish for two, you may need to double or even multiply the ingredients as required.

Asparagus with Fake Fermented Bean Curd Sauce

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  1. tinytearoom

    this is a wonderful take on cheese sauce. this is a great way to asian-fy a lovely french dish.

  2. Little Inbox

    The fake fermented bean sauce sound great!

  3. kristy

    I too love cooking with this kind of fermented paste but have yet tried it on asparagus.
    Thanks for sharing & enjoy your day.

  4. ju

    Can I just use miso paste and omit the cheese? Tks.

  5. TasteHongKong

    Yes, but that will give you a very different taste than this. Perhaps, you may want to try the miso sauce I prepared here. As mentioned in that recipe, ‘I prepared the sauce almost in no time since it was simply a mix of Japanese sake and miso paste’.
    Have fun cooking and enjoy!

  6. penny aka jeroxie

    I love the fermented bead curd. Always have it with congee at home 🙂 Will try with asparagus next time.

  7. lena

    oh yes, even restaurants here also serve the water spinach with the fermented bean curd. It’s been a long time since i last i cook that becos the fermented bean curd here comes in a jar and it will take me very long just to finish that, just dont want to be eating just plain fermented bean curd all the time! Thanks again for sharing this cooking idea with miso paste. Btw, i’ve tried your king oyster mushroom and the pickled mustard, very nice, i’ve also added some pork slices but i never take photos becos that was quite late. I will do so the next time i cook this again.

  8. Lisa H.

    The word ‘Fake’ caught my attention….
    this is a very good alternative to the bottled fremented beancurd ( kids and hubs love fremented beancurd)… will keep this in mind when father and kids emptied the jar 🙂 Thank you

  9. TasteHongKong

    @penny, @lena, @Lisa H,
    I see, sounds like fermented bean curd is popular among us.

    So glad to hear that you like that simple stir-fry. I understand there are often limitations when we wish to take photos to share. But at least we enjoyed the foods : ).

  10. mycookinghut

    Lovely! I like asparagus and I am very curious of your combo of cheese and miso!

  11. Amy Tong

    The Stir-Frying Water Spinach with Fermented Bean Curd (腐乳炒通菜) is one of my favorite dishes as well. Didn’t know the fermented bean curd is not good for health….might do more research later on. Your “fake” version sounds delicious and I think I can go without the REAL thing! LOL…thanks for sharing.


  12. noobcook

    I like the idea of using white miso as the base… yes the final result do resemble fermented bean curd sauce and much healthier. And your asparagus look so fresh and green ^^

  13. tigerfish

    Did you enjoy your asparagus gently blanched? I know it must be very flavorful, served with your creative sauce over it. I like how you created your fermented bean sauce. I have also heard fermented bean curd (mostly store-bought I think) is not really healthy cos we don’t know what the manufacturers add in them to ferment it.

  14. TasteHongKong

    I usually enjoy asparagus stir-fried. Having been inspired by your steamed asparagus, how could I not credit you via this post?!

  15. Lori

    So interesting to read your post. My research into the health benefits of soy have told me that fermented is the way to go, that it is healthier than soy products that are fresh or unfermented. That’s why I always go for tamari and watch my soy consumption in the States. We tend to have a lot of processed soy here which is not at all as good for you as the fresh made products I came across in Asia. Interesting to hear both sides!

  16. TasteHongKong

    I have yet to learn more. The norm seems to regard that soy products having fermented over long period, like miso and tempah, is better. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  17. Shu Han Lee

    fermented bean curd is actually really healthy for you! it’s the chinese answer to japanese miso, and is full of healthy gut bacteria! you shouldn’t avoid it (:

  18. TasteHongKong

    @Shu Han Lee,
    I see, always good to learn more, thank you!

  19. Gemma

    Awesome recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!
    If you are interested in finding out about growing your own asparagus.

  20. Helena

    My eye had been caught by this recipe when browsing your blog some time ago, so that when I saw a nice bunch of asparagus at a reasonable price in the supermarket this weekend, I bought it straightaway to make it.
    As I only had fermented bean curd, I did not go for fake but for real, at least as I figured it out : I just thinned down the curd with water in a saucepan, adding some chili powder, salt and sugar – is that how one should procede ?
    And I was truly amazed of how well these flavours go together, it’s a match made in heaven that you found ! And it is nice cold too, in case you didn’t yet try it out.
    I think this is destined to be my favorite asparagus recipe 🙂

  21. TasteHongKong

    Yes, clever! If you like a more pungent flavor, try adding droplets of wine while thinning the paste next time.